In this photo taken on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, high school student Maxim Dautov rides the escalator in the subway on his way to school in St. Petersburg. (AP/Nataliya Vasilyeva)
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The principal of a prestigious school near St. Petersburg summoned 16-year-old Leonid Shaidurov and 14-year-old Maxim Dautov in for a chat.Shaidurov and Dautov, children of the social media era, did not take the threats lying down.The student union's ranks swelled and education authorities in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, came out in support of the teenagers, not the principal.Russian teenagers putting up a social media fight against the rigid, Soviet-like attitudes of some teachers was one of Russia's political highlights of the year.Students elsewhere in Russia are standing up, too.Alexander Kondrashev, a teacher from St. Petersburg who belongs to an independent teachers' union, says the power dynamics between Putin-era teenagers and predominantly Soviet-educated teachers is starkly different from a generation earlier.Shaidurov and Dautov's school has its own student body but it works hand in hand with the administration and lacks any powers.Likewise, the often-strong reactions of teachers to anyone who undermines the existing power hierarchy mirror Russia's overall power structure.
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